New York State Advances Landmark Clean Energy Bill

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The New York state legislature has passed a bold climate change bill, proposing 70% renewable electricity supply by 2030 and 100% zero-emissions electricity supply by 2040.

The State Senate calls the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLPA) “the most comprehensive and aggressive climate change legislation in the nation.” It now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y.

The bill, S.B.6599, was agreed to earlier this week by Cuomo and the state Senate and Assembly. Regarding the bill’s passage by the legislature, Cuomo says in a statement, “As Washington turns a blind eye and rolls back decades of environmental protections, New York turns to a future of net-zero emissions.”

Notably, the legislation includes a requirement for 6 GW of local, distributed solar energy by 2025, which is enough to power 1 million homes throughout New York, according to Vote Solar. A report released earlier this year by Vote Solar estimates that achieving this solar goal would sustain more than 11,000 jobs between now and 2025.

Sean Garren, Vote Solar’s Northeast senior director, notes that the bill also includes funding for low-income and environmental justice communities, “which will help ensure New York is building a new energy economy that is both clean and just.”

“At a time when President Trump and the federal government have ignored the very real threats posed by climate change,” he continues, “we hope other states will follow New York’s lead. Our lives and world that we’re leaving to our children depend on it.”

Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, adds, “With passage of this bill, the Empire State is on the right path to growing its economy and tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our time. Codifying a 70 percent renewable energy requirement by 2030 and mandating 6 GW of solar by 2025 will solidify the state’s energy policy for years to come and bring solar to millions of New Yorkers.”

Shyam Mehta, executive director of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), applauds Cuomo, Assemblymember Steve Englebright and State Sen. Todd Kaminsky for advancing the bill.

“We are also profoundly grateful to our partner organizations, policymakers and advocates for their tireless work that brought us to this moment,” Mehta says. “Guided by this bold vision, NYSEIA’s member companies stand ready to continue investing in New York State’s electricity infrastructure and our workforce to help reach this legislation’s full potential.”

“While Washington is asleep at the wheel, New York is leading the way,” says Kaminsky, the bill’s sponsor. “The CLPA will virtually eliminate New York’s greenhouse gases, foster renewable energy production, create green jobs, invest in lower-income communities and protect our planet. New Yorkers and the world cannot wait any longer. This is the moment for bold, global change, and I’m proud to say New York is leading the nation.”

As laid out by the State Senate, the bill includes the following provisions:

  • Minimizes the adverse impacts of climate change by reducing statewide greenhouse-gas emissions;
  • Improves the state’s resiliency to the certain effects and risks of climate change;
  • Ensures that the ongoing transition of the state’s energy sector will create good jobs and protect workers and communities during the transition process;
  • Prioritizes the safety and health of disadvantaged communities, controls the potential regressive impacts of future climate change mitigation, and adopts policies for these communities; and
  • Reviews and prioritizes the allocation of public investments.

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, says New York is “now in a league of its own on climate action.”

“This bill will help fundamentally transform the state’s economy, slash climate pollution, and help create a more just and equitable society,” Suh continues. “There is no doubt that New York’s leadership sets the bar for the rest of the nation.”

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